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29 October 2014

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Radio Sheffield's 40th Birthday

You are in: South Yorkshire > Radio Sheffield's 40th Birthday > Janie Grace

Janie Grace

Janie Grace (Griffiths) now

Janie Grace

Janie was part of the original Radio Sheffield team of 1967 and stayed till 1972. Since then she's gone on to be the boss of BBC Children's and to run Nickeloldeon. Surely not the same Janie who once raided the manager's drinks cabinet?

:: Janie Grace
Production Secretary/Hot Pot presenter

How did you come to Radio Sheffield?

I was working in London for the BBC as a Production Secretary in the African Service, Bush House. I saw the local radio experiment details on the internal notice board - and thought 'I could do that'. Unfortunately, I had only been with the BBC for six months, and was therefore not 'established' as they called it then.

Jonny Wilkinson, the head of department, called me in to his office to tell me that my application would have to be withdrawn. I argued my case: a) I hadn't joined the BBC to be a Production Secretary, my ambition was to be a programme maker; b) I was very confident that I could do the job, and c) ... anyway - 'I come from Sheffield'. As if that in itself would clinch it! 

Janie and Jack at Radio Sheffield

Janie and Jack Thompson broadcast the news in 1967

Anyway, he relented and let the application go through.

After Radio Sheffield, where did life take you?

Director BBC Children's; Director/Producer/Executive Producer TVS (ITV Region); Controller of Children's and Daytime Meridian (ITV Region); Managing Director Nickelodeon (launched Nick Junior channel); Controller of Children's and Young People ITV Network Centre; Managing Director English National Ballet; Governor, Teachers.TV.

What was your proudest Radio Sheffield moment?

Persuading Michael Barton [first Radio Sheffield Editor] to let me pilot my idea for a children's programme. (It was commissioned and called Hot Pot: The Adventure Playground of the Air. Engineer Peter Mason recorded it with me every week.)

Other memorable moments?

So many good memories:

  • The classic Jack Thompson slip in the first ever news bulletin - the accident or whatever it was on the MI (he said the M Eye, not the M One)
  • The classic Coil Oil interview, where some southern reporter just couldn't grasp the Yorkshire for 'coal hole'  
  • Forever being asked to reach down the ROT tapes from the top of the filing cabinet in the News Room and forever falling for it - mini-skirt days!!  
  • Lunches at the Broomhill Tavern
  • Election Specials
  • The Hot Pot float in the Lord Mayor's Parade
  • Raiding Michael Barton's drinks cupboard with Geoff Sargieson and Ted Gorton!

Worst moment on air?

Battling through snow drifts to get to the radio station one New Year's Day morning to open up and put it on air - I did it with about 30 seconds to spare. Too close to call!

How would you sum up your time here?

Very happy and formative years. The bedrock of my career.

What's your favourite place in South Yorkshire?

The Bradfield Moors.

How do you spend your free time these days?

Meeting friends, gardening, cooking, walking and boating.

last updated: 05/10/07

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